Improving inferencing skills through characterization strategy

M. Carmelita Smith

Abstract

The problem the researcher faced was the inability of adolescent students with special education needs to make inferences and draw conclusions from text. When given a passage of reading, students were unable to answer comprehension questions regarding the text unless the answers were clearly stated within the text itself. This was a problem because last year the researcher's high school did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in its special education cell as outlined in No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The researcher was concerned because the reading portion of the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam (WKCE) is filled with comprehension questions based on making inferences and drawing conclusions from the text. The ability to make inferences and draw conclusions is an essential skill for all students, especially those with a variety of special education needs. The purpose of the study was to determine if ability to make inferences and draw conclusions about character traits in a fictional short story unit would increase based on a strategy which involved use a graphic organizer to identify character traits not specifically stated in the text. In this study, the researcher developed a strategy for teacher use, implemented it, and measured students’ progress based on a rubric and assessment of a pre-test and post-test.